This list comes from Kirsten Easthope!




Every woman I’ve ever met is possessed by demons.  Devils.  Vicious, brutal spirits.  Sometimes I have to remind myself of this—when I see a babe in the arms of its mother or a young girl smiling at a summer day, hair tugged by the breeze, as she carries pails of sour milk to the pigpen and pours them, one by one, into the trough.

Women have the power to bewitch men’s minds.  It cannot be natural.  It radiates out of them like the sun.

One day last summer as I was riding on the old fort road toward the garrison, I stopped to watch a girl carry her buckets back to her house, a humble cottage.  I dismounted and knocked on the door.  A crone answered it.

“Greetings,” I said, and told her my name.  She flushed and curtseyed.

“What may I do for you, my lord?”

“The girl who just entered here, who is she?”

“My daughter, lord.”

Only a demon would sell such a beautiful child.  In less time than it would take to describe, she had been dressed in clean clothing and rode behind me on the back of my horse.  Coins jingled in the old woman’s pocket.

At the old fort, which had been turned into an inn, a pair of grizzled mercenaries teased her, calling her “fresh meat” and other such names.  I took her away from them; although women are demons, men of a lower class are surely beasts. When I had finished my business there, I traveled onward, having purchased a second horse to carry both woman and supplies.

By the time I had returned home, the girl’s light had been dimmed somewhat, although I had of course not touched her.  It had been a tiring journey for us both.  I gave her over to the care of the other women of my house—all of them aged now, but still beautiful—and inspected my holdings.

All was in order.

At midnight I escorted the girl up to the room at the top of the tower, where I wed her according to the rites of the folk from which she came.  And in the morning, the women carried her down the stairs, wrapped in gauze, and buried her with the rest, each bone separate from the others, the skull and marrow-bones cracked open, so that if they should rise—well, it would take some time to sort themselves all out.

Afterward, the women presented themselves to me.  The eldest had been with my family for seven hundred years, the youngest over twenty, demons enslaved by blood.

“You have done well, my sweets,” I said.  And offered them my wrist.

Inspired by Bluebeard and Dracula…maybe a little Gilles de Rais.